As pumpkin spice season gives way to Halloween, I wanted to discuss a very important topic to a scaredy cat like me: scary movies. As a person who detests gore, horror, jump scares and demons, I wanted to offer some movies that are enjoyable, without keeping you up all night! So here are some of my top picks for not-quite-so creepy, but enjoyable Halloween movies!
For the record, some of these movies do include gore, nudity, and other mature topics.
20. Twilight Saga
In case you need a hilarious movie to cringe at during movie night, Twilight, which needs no introduction is perhaps the least creepy Vampire/Werewolf movie you could watch. But if afterwards you feel like the blood has been sucked from your body…consider it the poor source material.
19.The Corpse Bride (2005)
Stop animation is chilling, and this is no exception. The gross visuals keep it toward the bottom of my top twenty, but I do like it! It tells the story of Victor who accidentally marries a corpse, and she drags him down into her ghostly world.
18. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Yes, I know I am starting off with a musical where there is a lot of murder. However, it features a few jump-scares, and a gorgeous soundtrack. It tells the story of Benjamin Barker, a wrongful convict, who returns to exact revenge on those who wronged him. Let’s just say there’s no time like the present to overcome your fear of musicals!
17. Twitches (2005) and Twitches Too (2007)
These Disney Channel classics from our childhood follows two twin witches, or “twitches” as they discover who they are, and their past! It’s not very spooky, but is very enjoyable!
16. Beetlejuice (1988)
While this author may prefer the musical, the 1988 movie combines both the supernatural and comedy to create a haunting (ha ha) movie about both grief and demons! I do not always love some of the more creepy visuals, but I find the movie overall enjoyable, and not too scary.
15. Scooby Doo (2002) The Mystery Crew is a classic this time of year as we follow their not quite so scary adventures. The cartoon will always have my heart, but if you’re looking for a slightly longer live action movie, check out this movie or its sequels!
14. Halloweentown Trilogy: Halloweentown
Following the story of Marney who moves in with her witch grandmother and is introduced to a world of witches, wizards, warlocks, and spooks, who live in Halloweentown. Over the course of the trilogy she defeats evil, finds herself, and makes friends. It is yet another Disney Classic that is more suspense than gore.
13. The Crucible (1996)
There is nothing quite as scary as history…or historical based literature. This adaptation of the 1953 play by Arthur Miller is a chilling but very real commentary on The Salem Witch Trials and The Red Scare! In case you weren’t graced by watching it in middle school, or even if you were, it deserves a rewatch as it depicts the beginning of the “witch craze” in America.
12. Ghostbusters: After Life (2021)
This movie, a sequel to Ghostbuster I and II, is actually a great movie with a nice number of thrills, plot, and references to the original. After her mother falls into debt, Phoebe moves into her grandfather, and former ghostbuster, Egon Spangler’s house after he dies, and learns that the property may contain more than just some old furniture…Features a few jump-scares and spooks, but also has great comedic and emotional bits.
11. Charlie Brown and The Great Pumpkin (1966)
Yes, I am aware that this cartoon is very old, but it’s a great movie to curl up and watch while carving pumpkins, and talk along to!
10. Goosebumps (2015)
This is likely one of the scarier opportunities on this list, and follows Zach, who moves next door to R.L. Stein and his daughter Hannah, and after letting Stein’s monsters out of the book, must recapture them! You will get goosebumps as you watch!
9. Shelly (2017)
If you like Frankenstein, watch the story of how the iconic man and monster came about from the mind of their author, Mary Shelly! It is a great, feminist movie, with Elle Fanning, so who needs anything else? There isn’t a ton of gore as it is historical fiction, but be prepared for a gothic setting and tons of thrills.
8. The Addams Family (1991) and The Addams Family Values (1993)
The Addams Family is a staple in my household at Halloween, and follows the quirky Adams family! If you have not seen it, the movie deserves a watch. They’re “creepy and they’re kooky,” and will keep you entertained!
7. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
A movie that is watchable from October to December, this Halloween and Christmas story around Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of HalloweenTown, who becomes tired of celebrating Halloween year after year, and after discovering Christmas Town, steals Santa Clause!
6. Coraline (2009)
This one may keep some readers up at night, and is likely the creepiest of the bunch. I find stop animation to be quite creepy, but because of the engaging plot, I think Coraline deserves to be on this list! It follows the story of Coraline, as she ventures into The Other World, which seems better than her real life world with inattentive parents. However, Coraline may soon discover that sometimes the best things come with a catch….
5. The Haunted Mansion (2003)
Based on the Disney ride of the same name, this Haunted Mansion movie tells the story of Jim (played by the hilarious Eddie Murphy) is a realtor who spends little time with his wife, Sarah, or their children. When Jim and Sarah view the property, a storm forces them to stay the night at the Gracey Manor, where they quickly discover the house is haunted! While the ghosts are creepy, Eddie Murphy’s comedic performance makes this a memorable movie.
4. Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein (1994)
If “Mary Shelly” piques your interest, you should watch this movie as well! It tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, who reanimates a corpse to create a monster, which leads to his downfall. The movie is a departure from the book, so maybe don’t watch it and attempt to pass a test…
3. Haunted Mansion (2023)
Similar to the 2023 comedy, the 2023 Haunted Mansion movie is comical, but does have a creepier tone. It tells the story of Gabbie and her son Travis as they attempt to expel the ghosts from Gracey Manor.
2. Wednesday (2022)
I know Wednesday is a tv show, but this engaging portrait of the Adams family follows Wednesday as she attends Nevermore Academy, and solves mysteries.
1. Hocus Pocus (1993)
This is my favorite Halloween movie of all time! Hocus Pocus tells the story of Max and his sister Dani, who have just moved to Salem, Massachusetts. Max accidentally releases three
witches from their prison, and must capture them to keep them from killing all of the children in Salem for their youth!
I hope this list will come in handy as Halloween approaches! Happy watching!